Grace and I loved our study of Japan! We both learned a lot from our Netflix documentaries, our study of Commodore Perry, our wonderful living books including Katherine Patterson’s Master Puppeteer, Pearl Buck’s The Great Wave, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr, The Cat Who Went to Heaven, by Elizabeth Coatsworth, and Born in the Year of Courage by Emily Crofford. We particularly enjoyed putting together a Bunraku Pop-up Theatre that was created by Ellen J. McHenry on her very cool blog, Basement Workshop, to go along with Master Puppeteer. We discovered a love for the work of the great Japanese artist and print maker, Hokusai, and enjoyed reading the English translation of The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai, by Francois Place, which describes life during the Edo period, as well as the print-making process.
We watched this video of an authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony on YouTube, and decided to learn more about the various types of tea, and the history of tea. As part of our “study” we take time to enjoy several different blends of Teavana Tea. Fortunately, we have a great deal more mileage to cover in Asia, and many more tea varieties to try!
We’ve enjoyed sushi, and listening to classic Japanese music performed on authentic instruments, the Koto, a type of zither, and on the Shakuhachi, a bamboo flute.
We studied the elements of Japanese Gardens. We designed kimonos. We read Japanese haiku by masters of the art, and strove to compose haiku that would truly capture an exquisite moment in time, allude to the season and meet the syllabic requirements. I found that Haiku works really well within the limits of texting! Try it! We painted a fish.
More sobering was our study of Tsunamis and Earthquakes in the ring of fire, and then reading about the very real effects of the most recent Tsunami in the October 8th issue of World Magazine. It’s one thing to watch exciting weather videos on Weather.com and watch the Extreme Weather Netflix videos. It’s something else altogether to read about the children who are displaced and don’t know where their parents are, or even if they are alive. We were so sad to read about the families who have lost everything. We have been concerned about the water supply, and local crops due to damage to the nuclear power plant.
We stayed longer in Japan than we were supposed to! Can you blame us? I love the freedom I have with homeschooling to keep studying what we find stimulating! Japan falls in weeks 8 and 9 in Sonlight’s Eastern Hemisphere curriculum, and as usual I’m more than a little late in posting!